CNN’s Octavia Nasr said earlier Wednesday that the controversy sparked from her tweet praising a Hezbollah-linked cleric provided a “good lesson” on what to write online. Now it’s cost her her job, Mediaite reports.
Nasr will no longer be the network’s senior editor for Mideast affairs because she wrote on Twitter that she was sad to hear of the recent passing of “one of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot,” Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah.
Journalists making impolitic comments outside of the newsroom, and losing their jobs in the process, has become a trend of late.
Veteran reporter Helen Thomas recently gave up her front-row seat in the White House briefing room after saying that Jews should leave Israel and “go home.” And Dave Weigel, who blogged about the conservative movement for the Washington Post, resigned after emails surfaced in which he insulted and ridiculed conservative political figures.
Mediaite said it obtained a staff memo by Parisa Khosravi, senior vice president for CNN international news-gathering, announcing that Nasr “will be leaving the company.”
“As you know, her tweet over the weekend created a wide reaction,” Khosravi wrote, according to Mediaite. “As she has stated in her blog on CNN.com, she fully accepts that she should not have made such a simplistic comment without any context whatsoever. However, at this point, we believe that her credibility in her position as senior editor for Middle Eastern affairs has been compromised going forward.”
So Nasr’s 20-year career at the network is over. Nasr acknowledged publicly that she should be more careful when writing something that could be construed as support for a leader of Hezbollah, which is considered by the U.S. government to be a terrorist organization. And she clarified that what she respected about Fadlallah is his longtime support of women’s rights, not the more controversial anti-Israel positions. Apparently, that apology wasn’t enough.